Featured Game of Thrones Recap

Game of Thrones: Battle of the Bastards —Thematic Analysis

Game of Thrones

When an episode like “Battle of the Bastards” comes along, sometimes the easy thing to do is to throw up your hands, let the spectacle of it all wash over you, and turn off your brain. All of the biggest action sequences in the series have had some element of that—think that 360-degree shot in “The Watchers on the Wall” in Season 4, or the waterfall of wights in last year’s “Hardhome.” Since the budget for effects had expanded in these last few seasons, showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss have been on a mission to top what can be accomplished in a TV fantasy series, and set a benchmark for others to reach for in the years to come. To that end, “Battle of the Bastards” was a rousing success.

Sansa: “You are going to die tomorrow, Lord Bolton. Sleep well.”

As part of the build up to the all-important penultimate installment of the season, director Miguel Sapochnik spoke of the role of luck in war, and that in filming the Battle of the Bastards he tried to show how it was a key factor. And in one sense, that was the through-line that played out on the battlefield last night. Consider what happened to Jon Snow after he was knocked off his horse and found himself on his feet in the mud in the midst of a cavalry charge. At any moment, he could have been run over. An arrow could have fallen a few feet to the left or right and pierced his armor. A soldier could have attacked his blind spot before he had a chance to turn. Another body could have landed on him and crushed him. It has been established that Jon is a hell of a swordsman, but just because Harington was damn near balletic on the field wasn’t enough. He also had to be lucky.

Battle of the Bastards Official

But what struck me, along with the arrows that rained down and yet never seemed to hit our hero, was how some characters made their own luck tonight. Not Jon Snow, for the record. In fact, one could say that Jon Snow did everything wrong. Sansa told him that Rickon was as good as dead, to let their brother go, to keep a cool head, to not fall into Ramsay’s traps. And Jon, honorable fool that he was raised to be, lost his head and ignored all of Sansa’s advice. His men, too, ignored all their own best words. Tormund might not have understood what Davos was talking about when he mentioned hanging back and being patient. But Davos’ advocating for restraint didn’t do a damn bit of good either, since he got antsy and rushed the rear guard, leading to some terrifying visual moments, as Ramsay sprung the back half of his trap with the “double envelopment pincer move,” squeezing the rebel forces between a wall of corpses and a wall of shields.

Ramsay: “Do you like games, Little Man?”

It was also notable that Ramsay never picked up a sword. This remained true to the end, even when his back was against the walls of Winterfell, and he was cockily attempting to agree to the hand-to-hand combat he refused the day before. Ramsay clearly does not have the sword training that Jon does. He is not a ballerina of death, whirling and slicing and murdering in the mud. But he’s a man who has always made his own luck. His mind games are how he forces his enemies to make mistakes. And it almost worked. Until the Knights of the Vale showed up, Ramsay was winning. He was inside their heads, from the moment he released Rickon. (Art Parkinson may have not spoken a word since Season 3, but his acting skills are still strong enough that Rickon’s death scene was a heart-wrencher.) And even once he’s lost, and the great equalizer that is Wun Wun* disabuses him of any notion of holing up for a siege in Winterfell, he seems to think he’ll always find a way to pull one over on the forces of good, because (to quote the great Rick Moranis in Spaceballs) “Good is dumb.”

(*RIP Wun Wun, our last CGI giant. Sleep well and dream of large women.)

Rickon Stark

But while Jon failed to make the luck he needed, Sansa made enough for both of them. Everyone will say that tonight, in their hour of need, Littlefinger and the Knights of the Vale rode in over the ridge, like Gandalf and the riders of Rohan at the Battle of Helm’s Deep. But as the Vale soldiers charged down the hill, smashing the shield wall from behind, and freeing Jon Snow’s trapped forces in their moment of need, the camera panned past Littlefinger to Sansa. She was the true leader of that army. She had brought the luck they needed. Littlefinger did not save Sansa and Jon. Sansa saved Jon and their home. And in doing so, she earned the right to be the one to kill Ramsay. Ramsay may have thought Jon stopped punching him because good is dumb. In reality, Jon stopped because he saw the look on Sansa’s face, and knew that this one was hers.

Sansa: “No one can protect me. No one can protect anyone.”

This theme of “making one’s own luck” was echoed in the other battle we saw tonight, the one In Meereen that the show kept under wraps until the hour began. And once again, it was hard to miss that it was the women who had the trump cards up their sleeves, and the men who posed and postured and assumed they were going to win. To be fair, it was Tyrion’s idea to get the Masters to stop bombing them long enough to pull out their ace cards (once he stopped trying to shoehorn in an entire season’s worth of plot exposition to explain to Dany how things got to this point.) He fooled the preening Masters with vague wording about “terms of surrender” and got them to a meeting. But from Drogon’s entrance onward, we were seeing the results of Dany’s choices, and the luck she had made for herself over the course of the season.

Dragons

Speaking of choices made over the course of the season, Yara’s choice to beat her uncle to the punch and proposition Dany herself paid off beautifully. In “Battle of the Bastards,” the Ironborn storyline paid off in a way that the Dornish one never did when Yara and Dany locked eyes on each other and were unable to keep from smiling.

Dany: “Our fathers were evil men, all of us here. They left the world worse than they found it. We’re not going to do that. We’re going to leave the world better than we found it.”


Like the scenes between Brienne and Tormund, this was a moment of chemistry that the books will never see. The crackle between Dany and Yara, a pair of women who had made their own luck to get to this moment, is the kind of thing that spawns a million fanfics. No, a woman has never ruled the Iron Islands…no more than one has ever ruled the Seven Kingdoms. But between the two of them and their refusal to accept that “these are the facts of the ground” for an answer, they just might be able to make all the luck they will need when it comes to taking back Westeros.

133 Comments

  • Love that the whole ‘analysis’ completely ignores the fact that had Sansa bothered to accept littlefinger’s help the first time instead of tending her wounded dignity, a lot of lives, possibly including rickon might have been saved. But hey, its par for Ani

    • Yeh completely agree sansa has done two things this season convince jon to go to war and send a letter thats it. Everything sansa said ro him he already knew and when he asks her what he should do we just get a shrug of the shoulders and a i dunno.

    • Agree. Everything about her character is wrong. Trying to undermine Jon, Tormund, Davos and Lyanna Mormont while making herself believe that she is above them all. Wrong!

      They have faced worst enemies in the past. What is another mortal compared to the undead army? She keeps on prodding Jon on the wrong things they are doing, yet she can’t even be honest with her secret meeting with Littlefinger.

      Also, she’s not even a little concerned on Rickon and the rest of Stark army. All she cared about was how Ramsay will be evil in his plans during the battle.

      Lastly, the line where she told Jon that no one can protect her. Maybe she forgot that The Hound and Tyrion offered her help to escape King’s Landing before. She refused. Hope she stops acting like a know-it-all leader when she’s not.

      *cringe

      • Sansa clearly told Jon that Ramsay will play mind games. She wasn’t sure what kind of games he will play, but she knew that was coming. She clearly said Rickon is a goner no matter what. But Jon couldn’t stop himself from trying to save him. She clearly said “don’t do things that Ramsay wants you to do”. And Jon does exactly what Ramsay wants him to do by charging into the well laid trap. Clearly Sansa was right, but Jon underestimated Ramsay.

        • Oh yeah, don’t get me wrong. Jon should have definitely paid more attention to sansa’s warning (though admittedly her advice while accurate was somewhat vague), but my point was just that if she had accepted littlefinger’s help 3 episodes back when she first had the chance, the vale army could have shown up immediately after the battle started and the stark victory would have been considerably less costly in terms of lives lost

          • Or Bolton would have made a different plan to take account of the Vale. The point was to deceive Bolton into committing troops far from Winterfell, with their backs unprotected…

          • Then the point was accomplished after ramsay committed most of his troops three minutes into the battle. Two thousand deaths later, the knights of the vale narrowly show up in time to be of any actual help. There are plenty of reliable alternatives to calling in re-enforcements that are better than sansa’s plan of, “Piss off with this army which we desperately need which would win the war for us, oh wait we’re losing, i hope this letter gets to you in time to actually be of any use”. Face it, however you cut it, sansa screwed up as bad as everyone else even if she did save the day eventually.

    • WOUNDED DIGNITY??? WOW. Is that what you call it? Rethink your position immediately. That is a truly stupid way to describe it. She’s the one who has finally figured out, the only one among all the Starks, that you play to win, not to rescue this or that individual, for your honor or personal vendettas.

      • What happened to Sansa was horrific and completely unjustified. Sansa letting thousands of people including her own brother die just so she could just littlefinger to fuck off is also horrific and completely unjustified. However you look at it, she turned what could have been an easy rout for the starks into a narrow victory because she wanted to make a symbolic gesture. Certainly understandable given exactly how much Littlefinger’s negligence had caused her to suffer, but still ultimately her fault.

      • Also how exactly was turning away an army that would’ve won the battle single handedly just so she could make a gesture abotu her personal vendetta, ‘playing to win’. She did the exact opposite of what you are describing.

      • We need to remember Sansa’s story arc. Dimwitted, selfish, naive, and childish at the outset.

        But then look at who she is influenced by…

        Cersei – conniving and vengeful
        Tyrion – pragmatic and forward thinking
        Joffrey – cruel and hateful
        Littlefinger – scheming, the master puppeteer
        Ramsay – sadistic

        She has learned you can’t fight nobly. You have to think big picture. Saving one is NOT worth losing thousands or a war. She’s learned to play others. She’s learned cruelty has its place.

        Now – she hasn’t perfected the art… but she’s getting better at it. I have to rewatch the scene in Moletown with Littlefinger… but what if that was part of the ploy?

        Her power over Littlefinger is that Baelish desires her. It’s obvious. She spins it – and rightfully so – that Baelish owes her big time.

        Sansa’s transformation from pawn to player has been the best character story arc of the series.

        • Hrabosky, i don’t think so. Always remember that Sansa was the main reason why Ned Stark was beheaded.

          Instead of backing up her own father and sister Arya in Season 1, she chose Joffrey because she will marry him for the reason that Joffrey was handsome and a prince. She then told Cersei of Ned’s plan to return to Winterfell. We knew what happened thereafter.

          Since Season 6 Episode 1, we have never seen the “growth” of Sansa trying to be the female player that she’s describing while doing interviews prior to the Season 6 pilot.

          She undermined Jon, Tormund and Ser Davos without giving due credit to them. She acts as if she is the only one that matters because she is the one who suffered the most. Hence, the entitlement that must be bestowed upon her.

          Rather than helping Jon with their strategy, all she did was to whine about the wrong things that they talked about. However, she was only turned down by Lyanna Mormont and Lord Glover in the previous episodes. Empowered, eh? Nah.

          Another annoying thing she did was to withhold a vital information in their meeting. Brienne was right when she questioned her on why she did not inform the team about Littlefinger and the Riverrun siege.

          Can’t believe that after six seasons, she’s still the dimwitted, selfish and self-absorbed character that she has always been since Season 1.

          She turned down The Hound and Tyrion who could have helped her escape from King’s Landing before, plus Brienne when they met at the inn in Season 5. She still prefers Littlefinger. Look what happened to her after ..

          She doesn’t trust good people because she prefers to believe in Littlefinger. If only she knew what Littlefinger did to Ned Stark, Lady Cately and Aunt Lysa Arryn. Tsk!

          • It’s fascinating how we all watch the same show but see far different things.

            Ned died because he forewarned Cersei and offered her a path out – to take her children and leave. Knowing that King Robert would probably have her killed for her deeds. He was naive and tried to do the “right thing” which got him killed.

            Blaming it on Sansa is simply silly, because the ultimate mistake was Ned’s alone.

          • CrateBarrel, in the books, Sansa first told Cersei on her father’s immediate plan to return to Winterfell because she was whining about it. In the show, it was not shown.

            Remember that book Sansa was always whining about everything. All she cared about was her future marriage to Joffrey.

        • Littlefinger didn’t desire her so much that he wasn’t willing to let Ramsay have her for a while. Even if he would have been as gentle and kind as Trystane Martell, the fact is, Littlefinger turned her out for his own gain.

          Sansa owes LF now. Jon and Brienne can’t kill every Vale soldier. The Umbers and Karstarks aren’t ALL dead and most of the wildings and Rickon are gone. Not to mention that I guess next week, Jon will either be without Davos or Melisandre (or both, if they kill each other)

          Littlefinger is, for all practical purposes, the warden of the North now. And he technically still has the crown’s blessing to be the official warden.

          I don’t think Sansa had any choice. I also think Littlefinger pretty much was like, “Yeah, we’re hanging back” because he hoped Jon would get killed. But she is getting played as well as playing.

        • I don’t think she really trusted Littlefinger would show up in time. Yes, the army was near, but what if Littlefinger decided to play for the other team? Or held back too long, then swooping in and taken Winterfell on his own, claiming it for himself? How could she totally trust him when he talked her into marrying Ramsay as part of some master plan?

      • It wasn’t Sansa’s fault! Her mother’s revenge decision of kidnapping Tyrion and Robb’s decision of going into war had very bad consequences in the politics of KL.

    • Well, considering a huge chunk of the wildings are dead, and Littlefinger now instantly has one of the largest armies in the North AND is already planted in Winterfell, I think Sansa will end up paying for whatever mistakes she made here.

      People keep talking about Gandalf and the Two Towers, but Gandalf didn’t want to marry Aragorn and would refuse to leave if it didn’t happen.

    • I’m glad you asked, I was wondering the same. At least we got to see one of the turncloaks get their throat ate out.

      • Hopefully we’ll find out next episode. If Jon has any sense, he’ll do what Robb should have done and lock lord karstark in a cell in exchange for the houses’s loyalty

        • Houses in open rebellion are subject to forfeiture of their lordships if they lose. This is the rationale under which the Iron Throne formally seized Riverrun from the Tullys and awarded it to the Freys. The lordships of Dreadfort, Last Hearth and Karhold are in the same boat.

        • Lock them up in exchange for loyalty?
          Those houses openly rebelled against the Starks.
          They’re lucky if they don’t get the same treatment as the Reyns of Castamaer from Tywin Lannister.

          • Sure but removing the ruling house is not always the most effective and practical thing to do. Thats why Theon was the Starks’ ward. Highborn hostages to ensure the loyalty of their family is a common practice with rebellious houses.

            Its easy with the Boltons since their line went extinct with ramsay’s death but extinguishing every surviving Umber and Karstark and seizing their holdfasts would take a commitment of troops and resources which frankly they probably can’t afford to spend.

      • If Ghost had gone into battle, everyone would now be crying about killing another wolf in a wasteful way.

        Ghost would have been largely useless in that kind of battle. A lone wolf would be better in a small skirmish, scouting, hunting.

  • But why didn’t Sansa just tell Jon that she had written to Littlefinger or that she may have men for the army? Kind of idiotic to withhold that she had a potential source of men before and even after she wrote the letter to Littlefinger. Jon had no grounds for believing any more men existed so things were not going to get better by waiting … she deliberately withheld important info from him, only repeating “we need more men, we need more men” over and over without bothering to mention she has a potential source of more men in the offering. As far as Jon is concerned, there is no other source.

    • That is something they have to address on the season finale. Jon has to demand an explanation.

    • She had no idea LF was coming with the Vale knights until he actually did. If she told Jon about LF, she’d have to explain that he’s already offered to help, but that she’d told him to go pound sand. If Jon asked why she told LF off, she’d explain it’s because he gave her to Ramsey, then Jon would distrust him and not want his help either.

      It’s complicated, it’s not Sansa being evil or treacherous. She told Jon repeatedly not to go to battle with the army he had!

      • And what army then if not the one he had as he had no expectation whatsoever of any more men?

      • Sansa did tell Jon they need more troops… she was probably hoping for the Vale Knights to show up before the battle.

        Stubborn Jon though.

    • I think if she’d admitted to Jon in the tent that she’d approached LF he would have quite rightly ripped her a new one for not telling him sooner. 10,000 cav would have been an absolute game changer for him if he’d known about them *before* the battle was set for dawn. It looked to me like she wanted to come clean with him but backed down; out of fear of Jon’s wrath? She wasn’t sure LF would arrive? Who knows, but telling him in the tent wouldn’t have made any difference by then. I doubt Ramsay would have delayed, he was set on his game with Rickon and Jon would have still walked into the trap.
      If she was going to tell him it should have been at Castle Black in the very beginning, but she still had romantic ideas of northern loyalty then and she didn’t trust LF and thought they could do it without him. She’d been disabused of that notion by the time she sent the raven but by then there was a chance LF would refuse after the way she spurned him at Molestown, or that the KotV had left Moat Cailin. And then she’d have to explain to Jon why. So she withheld.

      TL;DR.
      Sansa’s little white lie at Castle Black became compounded over a few steps into a massive lie and she chickened out of coming clean with Jon when they were arguing in the tent. I sincerely doubt it would have made any difference to the outcome by then anyway.

    • I think there are two possible reasons why Sansa didn’t tell Jon she had written to Littlefinger: a) because she thought he’d veto any suggestion that LF be involved in the battle; or b) she thought Jon wouldn’t listen to her at all. The latter certainly proved to be the case last night: Ramsay was able to goad Jon into doing exactly what Sansa warned Jon not to do.

      • If Jon knew about the vale soldiers he would have waited. Once he knew his strength he would have boasted that. Ramsey now knowing numbers even or not in his favor hunkers down for siege. Starts, arryns, wildlings, mornings, etc. Die in winter outside gates. Ramsay wins. Keeping troops secret even from Jon allowed the victory.

        • Proving that Ramsey was right in the end. She cant really kill him because he is in her head now. She was perfectly willing to sacrifice both brothers and most of her own army to ensure victory…. the same mindset Ramsey had.

          • I wouldn’t say that was learned from Ramsey, that’s a huge leap. It’s actually nothing like him.

            What she has learned is how to win, from all of her experiences with those that live differently from the Starks.

            I think a lot of you are just butt hurt that it’s Sansa who saved Winterfell, not “stand here and watch the battle rage around me” Jon who barely survived.

    • I honestly think the explanation will be that LF didn’t tell her until he got there. AND then he insisted on the battle plan from there.

      He would have been able to manipulate her easily into keeping quiet. PLUS, he wasn’t about to enter the fray until Rickon (and hopefully Jon, but he didn’t get that wish) were dead. He needs Sansa as the heir to Winterfell.

      • Cratebarell: I think a lot of you are just butt hurt that it’s Sansa who saved Winterfell, not “stand here and watch the battle rage around me” Jon who barely survived.

        WTF? Who the hell did you think was on the front lines of this war and got his hands dirty killing as many as he could? And did you watch the same episode I did? Jon did not just stand there and watch the frigging battle, that was your smug little Sansa doing that! Sansa wrote a freaking letter to someone that owed her something. That’s it. The knights of the Vale ultimately saved Winterfell not her. And she’s an idiot if she thinks Littlefinger came to her rescue and doesn’t now expect her allegiance.

    • I see it both ways. Sansi withheld vital information. But, I really thought GOT messed up the whole seeking other allies story line. I know we can’t see Jon and Davos literally go to 20 other houses, but I think in 2-3 minutes they could have covered it (rather than see Tyrion joking). They only went to two houses? There is like 15 houses under the Stark banners. And, as we saw back in Season 1 the Stark children are schooled in the Houses. Jon has to know the Vale is related by blood to the Starks. Robin is his cousin. Catelyn herself criticized her sister for not coming to Rob’s aide. Why wouldn’t Jon himself ask can we at least inquire about the Vale soldiers? Maybe he is told we can’t trust them or they won’t come. But, for Jon to go on and on about there are no other armies left. I just didn’t get it. What about the Reed House? They have always been loyal to the Stark’s? They could have simply said we know the Reed House army was already lost in the first war. Then, I could have bought the fact the everything had been thought of. Just a small complaint, I still loved the episode.

    • This is really obvious and has been explained. It was very smart actually. If the Vale had been there at the start they would have been right up front and been caught in the same trap the wildings did, and/or Ramsey would have changed his strategy – he would have just held out in Winterfell instead of committing all his troops at once. Sansa would also have no way of knowing if Jon could actually plan a battle or not – she hasn’t seen him do it. By having this card up her sleeve she saved Winterfell – when it’s likely that the battle would have gone differently had they been part of the plan to begin with.

      You guys and your Sansa hate and Jon idolizing really miss out on what actually goes on with the show and what it’s actually about.

      • If Ramsay decides to hole up in Winterfell, his army hiding away from superior force, then Wun Wun still smashes the gate open, and the Starks still sneak in through secret passages (possibly rescuing Rickon), and Ramsay loses even more thoroughly.

        Not bringing Jon to Moletown was a mistake. Telling Littlefinger off was a mistake. Not telling loyal people putting their lives on the line for her about her chat with Littlefinger was a mistake. What could have been a firm and easy victory, with a clean slate with Littlefinger and a large force of living Northmen … instead became a Pyrrhic victory of barely winning, being deeply in Littlefinger’s debt, and having no surviving cavalry and few surviving troops.

      • “You guys and your Sansa hate and Jon idolizing really miss out on what actually goes on with the show and what it’s actually about.”

        They are being at least three times more perceptive “about what actually goes on” than you are.

  • I find it really amazing that GoT has advanced women in fantasy beyond the typical tropes and archetypes.

    But all of the above females seizing power really doesn’t have anything to do with Luck. Sapochik was talking about the role of luck in battle, which is valid. The rest of the analysis is pure spin.

    Dany is where she is simply because she has assembled a very large army of allies because they are in awe of her dragons and ability to be unharmed by fire. Is that luck or magic? It is certainly not her excellent decision making skills.

    Yara isn’t lucky either. She fled home with someone else’s plan and their ships. I like Yara and I’m glad she made it to Meereen. But I wouldn’t call it luck, I’d call it cunning.

    Sansa also did nothing to make her own luck. The only reason her Raven to LF saved the day is because she kept it a secret from Jon, Davos and Tormund. They only sought to take the fight to Ramsay with the “army we have” because they were unaware there were other allies waiting in the wings.

    I will give Sansa credit that she knew Ramsay and his tactics. Jon fell for the bait hook, line and sinker. She did grow a pair this episode, I give her that. BUT she trusted LittleFinger over Jon, I have a feeling she will pay for that mistake.

    How many men died on that battlefield because of her treachery? I wouldn’t call that making ones own luck.

    • Exactly, The Red Lady. She could have saved many lives had she informed the council during their meetings that she sent a raven to the Vale to ask for help. She didn’t yet she acted like she’s entitled to be heard.

      Maybe she thinks that she has to be entitled in everything because she suffered the most compared to the rest. Moreover, I wonder why she keeps on being selfish in thinking that Winterfell is hers alone.

      No one will care about her if not for Jon Snow anyway. She can’t even convince Lyanna Mormont during their meeting before. False pretension on “empowerment” on her character. Another cringe. Haha!

      • @ House Stark

        I’m not disagreeing that Sansa’s selfish actions didn’t cause tragedies. I was just simply describing, due to the ways she was abused in her environments it’s all she knows. She is self centered because she’s had to be to survive.

        She’s fighting her own inner battles and she clearly sees things one sided. I don’t feel she believes she’s ” had it the worst in life.” She knows she’s made mistakes. She can only move forward if she wants to escape the life she’s living now. She’s hell bent on not going back to it!

        She’s prepared to fight selfishly to get there. Which is exactly what she’s doing. This is what I meant by applauding her character. It’s not necessarily in the best interest of all those around her but for Sansa it’s her way out of everything she hates and was afraid of.

        • So it’s ok to screw everyone else over if you are trying to get your own shit together?

          Reminds me of the same excuses we here from abusers… not my fault, I was abused as a child. Not my fault because of XYZ.

          Or addicts… sorry I totally messed you over, lied, cheated stole… not my fault… I’m sick.

          • @ The Red Lady,

            No my comment on Sansa is just a general statement. She was young and placed with bad people living in a bad environment. I’m not saying the things she is doing are right.

            I’m just saying she’s become the very things she hated. It is all because of the environment and abuse.

            In reality many people who were abused do suffer severely in many ways. It’s a bit harsh to generalize someone with issues like this as making ” excuses.”

            Some really do have deeper mental problems and do become detached and unaware of what they are actually doing or have done. These types of people tend to become very self centered and untrustworthy of others.

    • I agree with you gal. While I usually don’t oppose to those girl power narratives sometimes they get easily blindsided and lose perspective when it comes to complex stories like this one. You can say that Jon messed up but he was using all what he knew he had. Sansa, on the other hand, did shady thing on his back without even telling him why it was important to wait and so on.

      The other major flaw that I also find interesting to acknowledge is the fact that they always talk on how the women are really amazing in the show. What they forgot is that most of the woman they admire so much are coming from positions of power from the begining. Daenerys, Cersei, Sansa and Yara are all members, or were members of nobility. Is not that difficult to get recognized when you have the upper hand in a social setting where status is extremely important to influence people.

    • You know how many lives she saved by taking Ramsey out of power? How many innocent people Ramsey would have tortured and flayed over the following years had he stayed Warden of the North?

      Big picture, guys. Big picture. This is old school war. Thousands are expected to die from even the winning side. Ramsey ruling the entire north needed to end or the north would have been in misery in perpetuity. Sansa made that happen. Yes some lives were sacrificed “today” to win, but in the grand scheme she just saved the north from terrible tyranny.

      What is it with you guys refusing to give her credit? Is it the red hair?

      • Crate Barrel,

        I love redheads, maybe it’s because I am one!

        War is Hell and War has many casualties physical and otherwise, I don’t think anyone is arguing that Ramsay needed to be removed from power. Jon and Davos have said so since S5.

        But Sansa sabotaged Jon by withholding vital information. And I really doubt that those who died would be comforted by, “Well I wasn’t sure if and when LittleFinger would show up, so I just didn’t bring it up. Ooops.”

        • What I love most about GoT is that there aren’t ‘good guys’ and ‘bad guys’ in a binary way. Jaime Lannister is a great example of that.
          This episode shows Jon and Sansa both making mistakes – they’re not perfect ‘good guy’ fantasy archetypes. Jon ignored Sansa’s warning about Ramsey because she couldn’t articulate exactly what she feared, it was a ‘feeling’ not a solid battle plan so he just brushed it off. Then he ran at Ramsey’s battle lines without back-up because he couldn’t deal with his own emotions at Rickon’s death.
          Sansa should have told Jon about the Vale knights but she’s trusted the wrong people before and now she’s not sure who to trust. I think if Jon has included her when talking about his plans and had listened to her knowledge of Ramsey she might have been more willing to trust him, but all the same, she made a mistake by not telling him what she had done.

  • I’ll just say the battle of certainly a technical feat and a lot of fun to watch but I was very disappointed that I and many of us could see the plot coming a mile away, not one twist in an episode 9 I can’t help but feel cheated of course Dave and Dan have been known to do that.

    • I think you’ll find that unless he is a terrible writer, the actual endings to GRRM version will similarly be “predictable” else they will ring false like some M Night Shamalyan BS plot. That’s why George is so messed with the books right now. It has nothing to do with the show but with the fact he has created these expectations of huge “twists” early in the work which if he maintains them will end up feeling hollow and just for the sake of the twist and makes the narrative progression of the story secondary.

  • Amidst the battle, before LF arrived, who screamed “Fuck this, we are going home”? Was that the wildings ? I dreaded they were retreating abandoning Jon.

    How tall is Rickon exactly? He looked huge. If the plot had picking Rickon alive then Jon had to demount the horse and embrace him!

    • I had to go back and watch the episode again when I started reading about this statement. My TV has lousy volume and I hadn’t heard it before I read about it. Everyone wants to know who yelled “Fuck this! I’m going home!”

      After listening to the episode with headphones, this is what it sounds like to me. But first I want to make sure I’m talking about the right moment in the episode.

      Tormund is on the edge of the battle and has just failed to break through the shield wall. He looks around and sees they are not completely surrounded – on one side is the pile of bodies. At that point the Umbers (if I remember right) have not yet started to come over the pile.

      He looks around and sees the hopeless situation if he stays where he is. Self preservation kicks in and he yells, “Fuck this! Come on!” It didn’t sound like “I’m going home” or “let’s go home” to me. He then prodeeds to run toward the mountain of bodies because it looks like safety.

      He manages to get to the pile of bodies, only to meet up with Smalljon Umber who has just refused to fight Jon and waved him by, and they start to fight. Tormund has no sword and Umber starts to get the best of him.

      We all know what happens from there.

      What I want to know is, why did Smalljon Umber refuse to fight Jon? Trying to save him? Just chickenshit? And why has nobody mentioned that in all this speculation? We will never know because Tormund killed him. But I’m curious.

    • We only saw him sitting on his horse next to Ramsay on his horse. I have no choice but to guess that, since we never saw him again, one of two things happened. Either he went into the battle and was killed, or he played the pus*y card with Ramsay and didn’t fight.

      He was with Ramsay before Smalljon Umber came into the picture. It appeared to me like Ramsay had taken him on as an advisor or a general under him. I doubt Ramsay would ever consider anyone a friend, but it could have been that too. I know nothing about wars or battles, but I have seen a lot of movies and TV. In a lot of the ones I’ve seen, if the leader doesn’t join the battle he’ll keep his personal guards and his closest advisors/companions with him away from the battle. So Karstark may have stayed by Ramsay’s side.

      Here’s more speculation and guessing. If Karstark was with Ramsay when everything started to go south for them, being the worthless jackhole that he is, he probably rode off in the other direction and went home to hide. When the Starks try to bring the north to heel as the wardens that they are (or should be), Karstark will give them trouble later. But if Karstark’s men fought in the battle they were lost. There should only be a small number of Karstark men left. Maybe Karstark will try to get the remaining Umber men to fight for him too.

      But more likely is the possibility that Karstark was deemed unimportant by the showrunners and they didn’t write any more story for him. Bad plot hole there, but as many people said they are trying to speed toward the end of the series. They want to wrap up the side stories and bring everything together.

      Maybe we will find out in the finale.

  • Interesting idea about luck, however I’m not sure that Jon survived through luck. As you noted the arrows fell about him but never touched him, again the charging horses parted when they could have easily run him down, and finally when Jon drowned beneath his men he once again found his way to the surface and breathed once more. (This however says more about Jon choosing life instead of chasing death, which is another possible sub theme seen in Davos’ charging unto death after discovering the stag he made for the princess.) But in Jon’s case the luck seemed too good and Davos’ demand of Mel to “tell him what you have done to him” featured in next weeks promo suggest there is more at play her than meets the eye. Perhaps our hero who sort to die cannot even if he chooses it for himself. If I am correct we will have two hero’s and one Antagonist who have a strange relationship with death. One who does not fear it, one who craves it and another born of it and steeped in it.

    • This whole thematic analysis MISSES the point. Luck? Seriously? What were you watching.

      The themes were pretty simple – you can not fight fair or act nobly and survive in this world. You have to bend the rules and use your advantages.

      Oh and #2 – female empowerment #Dany #Yara #Dara #Sansa

      • I have always thought the GOT was about starting with 5 or 6 men battling for the thrown, to end up with all women battling for the thrown – Daenarys, Sansi & Arya, Yara, Dorne gals, Cersei, Margaery & Tyrell forces, etc.

        • If the sand snakes, cersei and yara are the standard for the coming glorious matriarchy i fail to see how we’ve accomplished anything other than switching from horse manure to cow dung.

          • Even Dany…
            See how quick she was to decide to go nuclear?
            How dare they attack her… she’ll kill them all, all their soldiers, burn their cities to the ground…. and Tyrion is like, “woah woah”!

            She definitely has some of her mad father in her. She better keep Tyrion by her side if she wants to be a good ruler.

  • When did Jon suddenly turn stupid? When he died last year, did he suddenly forget all the lessons in leading and politicking and war tactics that he learned at and beyond the wall? Apparently, he’s good with a sword now… and that’s about it.

    • If you’re born a stupid, you remain a stupid. If you die a stupid, you remain a stupid. If a stupid is resurrected, he remains a stupid.

      A stupid and a blood thirsty pervert b*tch won this battle. Good thing that Littlefinger is around to show them who their master really is.

      • Unfortunately, you are right about who’s the master of manipulation. Perhaps there’s hope that Jon and Sansa will put aside any differences and take Littlefinger out of the game in a scenario where Littlefinger doesn’t see it coming because he thinks he is in control of Sansa but it turns out she is loyal to Jon.

        • I do hope you are right. But still, Jon is too naive about everything around him in general.

    • There was evidence of his tactics at the parlay, his line about Ramsay not fighting for his men found its mark. Ramsay just head***ks better because it’s innate with him rather than learned.

      • He learned all that but he is still an honorable guy at heart. When he saw a slim chance of saving his brother, he forgot all his plans. Thats his nature. Good people are generally susceptible to doing stupid things. But Sansa has grown into a ruthless person who clearly thinks about her goals only. She wouldn’t have bothered to save Rickon and wouldn’t have stupidly charged at the Bolton army.

        • I don’t know if this is a compliment or not, but I am confident that, at that age, Ned would have run out to save Benjen.

        • Why did everyone cheer two weeks ago when the Blackfish refused to give up to save Edmure, but you all are condemning Sansa for being smart enough to realize that her brother Rickon was lost to them? Both had a family member in a perilous position and neither was willing to give up their own cause to save him.

          Ramsay had Rickon for a while and he was a very young kid. What if Ramsay had reek-ified Rickon while he had him? I don’t mean cutting off body parts; I maean the brainwashing. Sansa had seen what Theon was like. Loyal to Ramsay even though he’d been treated horribly. What if Rickon was meant to be a Trojan horse for Ramsay? He used Theon that way. Sansa had no way of knowing what Ramsay had done to Rickon, but she was smart to give him up as lost.

    • Jon has experienced death and what’s waiting on the other side ” Nothing.” He’s not afraid of death at this point. I saw Jon in that moment simply reaching out in an act of love for his brother Rickon. Jon said it himself all he’s ever done was fight. It wasn’t Jon the warrior that went after Rickon. It was Jon the brother.

      Hon is still human and he loved his brother. That’s what drove him, not stupidity. Jon knew it was a trap. You can see it in his face. He just didn’t give a shit! He knew Rickon was screwed either way. He had to try and that’s what he did.

  • “The true leader of that army was Sansa”
    Yes they’re there because of her but my guess is that’s LF’s plan, make Sansa think she’s in control when really she is LF’s puppet.

    Just gonna throw this out there whilst my tin hat’s on….
    My bet is LF will once again manipulate Sansa (You think that she would of learned by now, so much for her coming into her own) to turn on Jon, since the northerners will more than likely follow Jon, the new King in the North, instead of her…

  • So the show has finished one more family. Boltons join Baratheons and Martells. What about Starks? Jon is a bastard (and the show is obviously going for R + L = J). Sansa and Arya are females and even if they give birth to kids, they will not be Starks. Unless Benjen or Bran decides to marry and produce kids (the chances of that happening is zilch), Starks have come to an end.

    • Or, so many women in charge of different places now… remember Dany and Yara’s exchange, how neither the Iron Islands or 7 kingdoms had had female rulers before…

      If Sansa or Arya were to end up in charge of the family, they could petition KL (especially if Dany winds up sitting in the iron throne) to change the rules/laws and allow the family name to be passed through Stark women as well as men if they choose.

      Similar thing exists right now in England (for example). Where Queen Elizabeth carried on her father’s family name rather then taking Prince Philip’s (her husband) family name.

      • Because I’m British and we get disproportionately bothered by these sorts of things, I feel compelled to point out that good ole Queenie doesn’t actually have a surname. None of the Royals do actually; some of them occasionally use Windsor when they need to but that was invented in the early 20th Century to avoid reminding their citizens of their German ancestry. Prince Harry used Wales as his surname when he was in the army, and William uses Cambridge as his.
        (Also just FYI, she’s the queen of all of Britain as well as half a dozen other countries, not just England.)

        Sorry for being a pedant. I hate myself for it, but I can’t leave it uncorrected.

      • If Sansa is pregnant (Gods forbid), I bet she will call her child a Stark, not a Bolton. We are unlikely to see what he (you know it would be written as a boy) will grow up like. But I can imagine a little Ramsay only because the kid would have his genes. Sansa will turn into a Cersei – anything to protect her child. We already see how she is developing and it isn’t good. But I would not condemn Sansa because I know why it happened.

  • You should also take away from the episode the theme of hero and how Jon Snow is the epitome of that, despite his errors, he is literally first in battle, willing to die for his men (in one-on-one) which is all in *stark* contrast to the coward Bolton, who -like his father warned – would die like a mad dog. Thank the gods. Snow showed what a true Warden of the North is like and that would never be Ramsay.

    • There wasn’t one true ” Hero” standing alone in this episode. Every single person that fought for the North can claim this title. No battle is ever without flaws. A victory is won as a whole. Those that fought with Jon and Sansa are all worthy of hero status.

      • Nice sentiment (I agree in spirit), but history never remembers it that way.
        The leaders of armies almost always get the credit or the blame.

      • Jon proved that he can kill low level guys and be manipulated by Sansa, Ramsey and Littlefinger. Not much of a “hero” if you ask me. I wonder how long it will take Littlefinger to off him. I also wonder if Littlefinger and Sansa will ride north and kill the remaining free folk to mollify the other northern houses. Ramsey would be proud.

        • Jon proved that he can kill low level guys and be manipulated by Sansa, Ramsey and Littlefinger. Not much of a “hero” if you ask me.

          SO tell me, who’s the “high level” guy you’d have liked to see him kill on this battlefield? Give a name please. He went after Umber but they got separated. Highest level guy Ramsay? Check. He allowed his sister to finish the job, but he had it in the bag. Jon’s one of the most decent and selfless human beings on this show, an excellent swordsman, brave and honorable but naww he’s not good enough hero for ya.

          • Jon was completely irrelevant to the outcome of the battle. I would have preferred to follow Sansa and her meeting with LF before the knights of the vale attacked. Sansa was where the real action was taking place. Look I want to cheer for Jon but the writers or maybe Kit himself won’t let me. The brooding has become an inside joke on the show. Does Jon think the answer is always on the ground because that’s were he’s always looking. In the end I think Jon is the bright shiny fantasy trope that will die unheroically maybe even off screen. I wish the writers hadn’t thrown Jon under the bus to make up for what they did to Sansa last session but they did.

          • What did Sansa do to earn hero status? Threw a nasty comment at Ramsay and rode off? Sat up on the hill with LF and watches thousands of men die for her benefit?

            I did like her final scene with Ramsay, she did deserve to kill him and I’m glad she used his own hounds against him

        • “Jon proved that he can kill low level guys and be manipulated… Not much of a “hero” if you ask me.”

          Winning isn’t a requirement to be a hero. Neither is being smart.
          What *is* required… making the *attempt* to do the right thing, at great personal risk.

          In fact, being decent pretty much means being susceptible to manipulation.
          Would you refuse to rescue a drowning kid, simply because you were “manipulated” into it by someone
          who couldn’t swim?

          • Look, I place much of the blame on the writers (and Kit) for Jon’s strange arc this season. He seemed to be pretty smart giving advice to Thorne and the other knight’s watch officers and was willing the kill Qhorin Halfhand to earn Mance’s trust. But the writers have placed Jon in this place – he abandoned his battle plan and now his brother is dead, the free folk are probably extinct and the last giant is gone. Watch the interview with Kit – he seems to think Jon is stupid so that’s what he plays. Sansa deserves much of the blame depending on which in-universe theory you pick to explain her failure to tell Jon about the knight’s of the vale. But what is Jon’s role now? Sansa has a taller bodyguard with a valyrian steel sword. Maybe the tower of joy thing will play out and Jon will get the fuck out of Dodge and go to Meereen to help his real father’s side of the family.

  • I think it is a lot of hate in Sansa’s direction and it seems a bit unfair. She (her character) has been through a whole lot. I think her past experience being married to two crazy mofo’s and then to FINALLY get home. She did whatever she had to do, not to LEAVE her home ever again. However I do understand the thoughts of many of you, but to call her a “nitwit” was a little unfair #ThatsJustMe

    • “Nitwit” is pretty unfair. Sansa made some terrible decisions this season but then that is true of every character on the show in every season. Hers were hardly the biggest although not recruiting the vale earlier was pretty dumb.

    • Her first hubby (though I guess that got annulled due to lack of consummation?) Tyrion wasn’t crazy. He was very decent to her.

    • Sansa had two separate chances to get home after she witnessed the monstrosity of the boy king she was betrothed to wed and her father got his head chopped off. The Hound and Littlefinger’s 1st offer and she refused. Kept up with the whole “I love Joffrey” bit to what end??? Was she so desperate to become a queen that she was willing to stay at this treacherous place with an evil husband?

      • Gods, some of you have short memories! Sansa was terrified of The Hound. He was Joffrey’s until the Blackwater. How was she to know whether or not he was trying to trick her?

        And when she refused to leave with Littlefinger it was not because of Joffrey. Their engagement was over and Margaery had planted in her head that she would marry Lorus. She thought she was going to Highgarden with Lorus, and would have her dream of a noble husband and a beautiful home/family. It’s not her fault Tywin f*cked that up!

        And please stop calling her stupid. She was brought up to believe in that lie of a fairy tale, the sheltered daughter of a noble house. The belief in that world is that women are supposed to think that way. They are nothing but pawns to make alliances with and brood mares according to most men in that world. Maybe now that she has grown up she is no longer the sweet little dove (as Cersie called her), but I would not call her stupid. In fact, I think she is pretty damn smart. She has become a survivalist and her only teachers in recent years have been Joffrey, Cersei, Margaery, and especially Littlefinger. What do you expect?

        • My edit time ran out above. The Hound showed up in Sansa’s chamber in the middle of the night, drunk and ranting. He invaded her personal space, very menacing, and she was afraid he would hurt her. Go back and watch the Blackwater episode. Think of that from the point of view of Sansa – a 14 year old, naive, sheltered child. The hell you know is easier to live with than the unknown. I would not have left with him either.

          I absolutely LOVE the Hound. We all know he would never have hurt her, but she didn’t. All she saw was a drunk crazy (to her) man who scared her to death.

    • I don’t hate Sansa, but I think people are being kind of ridiculous by saying she was the hero of the battle and she was the real leader. Both Sansa and Jon did their best and obviously they would have done better if they had worked as a team.

    • I wouldn’t call Tyrion a crazy mofo, he only ever treated her with kindness. I’d love to see her meet up with Tyrion again and apologise to him, like she did with Jon, for her shallow attitude towards him.

    • Ok, Sansa was NOT married to two “crazy mofos.” Only one. Tyrion is the bright star in this show. He is the smartest, most sensible, and a good-hearted character. His family put him through the ringer just because he was born a dwarf. They are stupid.

      She was only engaged to Joffrey, not married to him.

  • “But from Drogon’s entrance onward, we were seeing the results of Dany’s choices,”
    Bullpies! You mean Dany’s decision to leave two dragons chained under a pyramid, and who would have been of no help without Tyrion?
    And what about Sansa, who could have told Jon she had sent for the Vale, and potentially kept thousands of people from dying simply because Jon thought he had all the troops he was going to get.
    Yep… Girl power!

  • Fuck boring Sansa. I feel for Jon when he charged. Stupid Sansa’s not “the 1 that’s figured it out that you play to exist”. Fuck you dogs that are into it/her. The Umber should’ve turned on Ramsey.

  • The writer of this article in their epilogue just made me see the Daenerys/Yara interplay in a less positive light… Fanfics should be banned by LAW.

  • Yes. Jon should have listened to Sansa about Ramsay, but should have told him at least about the raven she sent to Littlefinger… maybe he would have waited a bit to confirm if they were coming… and if so lay a trap for Ramsay while sending the knights of the Vale up his arse.

  • “She was the true leader of that army.”? Well she did ask for help and help came. That’s about it, seriously.

    Yes, she was deeply wounded by this damn bastard. I am VERY glad that SHE got to kill him. We can understand why she was pissed at Littlefinger. She had every right to be.

    A true leader would have refused his “offer” and would have DEMANDED it, from the start. :-)

    Something like “You will give them to me because I demand it and you OWE me.” Would have been cool!

    Maybe “next time”. She had to learn and grow up some more.

  • Did anyone else reflect on Ramsay’s final words to Sansa? He said something like ‘i will always be a part of you’ or words to that effect. Is it at all possible that she is in fact pregnant with his child… perhaps there was no moon tea at castle black or she wishes to keep the child as part of some longer term plan?

    • No he said it in terms of psychologically. Obviously by way of the fact that her experiences with him would leave their mark because you just don’t forget that kind of trauma.

  • Well, I don’t agree with some of the comments regarding Sansa’s attitude.
    We have to bear in mind that when she met up with Littlefinger the first time after her escape, she was still preparing a plan with Jon on the Wall. They only begun their search for allies afterwards. I guess Sansa wanted to make clear that she wasn’t anybodys puppet anymore. Giving in on Littlefinger so easily, without exploring the other options first, would have been a mistake, and she knew that. She also knew that Littlefinger owes her big time and that he has some kind of plan regarding her, whether it is for her profit or not, she doesn’t know, but she has already learned enough schemings from him to pretend to be ignorant.

    I’m pretty sure Sansa thought her name, her Stark claim, would be enough for all the norths bannerman to rise for them, so she thought something like: f*** you, I don’t need you, and if I do, I’ll claim this debt of yours, because I have something you want, or you wouldn’t come this far just to “save me”.

    Shortly after Sansa disregarded Petyr, we see her and Jon trying to get allies, and we can see her disappointment with the lack of success. More than one time we see that she wasn’t expecting that people would turn them down, would turn their back on a single Stark. She just forgets that since there was a King in the North, a long time passed and a lot has changed. And on that same episode, right after realizing there would be not enough men to rise for the Stark cause, she decided to turn on her only option. Littlefinger.

    It took him time to get there, but he got there. We can discuss on how it was all Sansas fault, on how she could have prevented so much deaths, and I know she has been far from perfect since the very first season, but let’s see the big picture here and don’t judge too fast.. She may be a naive, complaining winy girl, but two things she is not: a witch and a seer.

    So she could not know that the Stark name had lost all power. Most of all, that the North seemed to have forgotten, whilst she thought, the North would never forget. I think it was logical what she did. She thought there would be more options available than littlefinger. In the end, she had to turn to him, but at least he got the hint: This time it won’t be so easy to play with a She-wolf.

    • I agree with many things that you say Vera. Indeed, she certainly thought the North would remember more than that and be faithfull to the Stark name. I don’t why some people in the North was so pissed at the Starks.

      I can’t remember which northern lord said (Glover?): “where was Robb Stark when my houses needed help?”… to which she could have answered “first at war to free your liege lord and then dead at the hand of traitors, you fuckin’ dummy”.

      Yet, she still should have told him about the raven she sent.

        • Sansa telling Jon about the letter and Littlefinger arriving early would have resulted in a siege. There would have been no battle. Why would Ramsay meet a much bigger army in an open field when he can easily defend the castle in case of a siege? Remember the winter is almost here and the much bigger army wouldn’t have had enough provisions to survive the winter in the open.

          • Ramsay can’t defend WINTERFELL from a siege of STARKS with a GIANT.

            Wun Wun can still take out gates, and Starks can use the secret passages to sneak troops in and/or try to rescue Rickon.

            A short siege of Winterfell, with the Vale army scaring everyone else away, also raises the chances for more and more lords of the North to turn coat and pledge to the Starks (who suddenly look like they are going to win) rather than taking up arms against them.

            A short siege of Winterfell, on par with the short siege of Riverrun, would have been close-to-ideal for Sansa and Jon. What they actually got, instead, was far too close to worst-case-scenario.

  • I don’t understand why everyone is questioning why Sansa didn’t immediately make use of the Vale army. She doesn’t trust Littlefinger and rightly so. The vale army could have easily conquer what forces they had and taken over Winterfell. I think her instinct to withhold that info from Jon was because she felt Jon wouldn’t be as careful about Littlefinger. Her hope was that they could gather enough Northern forces so they didn’t have to resort to the Vale and Littlefinger who she doesn’t trust. It was only because she realized trying to gather an army of north was hopeless that she decided to rely on him.

  • This might not be the right spot to post this but here it goes…I’m still really confused on why exactly the Umbers sided with the Boltons on the show (I know it is a different situation in the books) but in the show they made it seem like the Great Jon was killed at the red wedding which was orchestrated by not just the Lannisters and the Freys but the Boltons as well. So why would the small Jon become allied with the house that helped kill his father. I know he gave that speech about the wildlings basically saying that’s why he joined ramsay I just couldn’t come to grips with it.

    • Sydnib,

      I think that’s why so many people thought the Umber alliance with Ramsay was a rouse, there didn’t seem to be a solid reason for them to betray the Starks.

      • The only real argument is seething-hatred-of-wildlings, who made up the bulk of the Stark army.

        Again, if Sansa had demanded Littlefinger’s assistance and fealty at Moletown, she would not have been demanding allegiance of Northmen with a mostly-wildling army. Heck, they could have kept the wildlings entirely off the official ledger and just said “we have my cousin Robyn’s army, and we want you to join it”.

    • Agreed. Why did the show keep saying “The North Remembers” just for the north to not remember when it came to it? Also, how did no one ever bat an eye at Ramsey? He killed his dad, stepmom and brother, shot a kid in cold blood in front of everyone and he didn’t lose one man?

      • See that’s exactly what I was thinking. I knew it would obviously be different than the books but it still just didn’t make a lot of sense. I just don’t see their long standing hatred of the wildlings over powering hatred the northern lords would have for killing their liege lord/king in the north and basically trying to eradicate the house that had held the north for thousands of years. I could only really see the karstarks as the only northern house to logically ally with the Boltons.

      • When Stannis burned Shireen most of his men deserted him. So you’re right; it doesn’t make sense that the Karstarks and Umbers would stay with Ramsay. They watched him play cat and mouse with Rickon and then kill him.

        I think they went on the side of Ramsay because they believed him to be the new power in the north. Side with the strongest so you and yours can live. Not right or moral, but understandable.

        • That does make sense in a way as strength is a huge aspect of the northern psyche. So I guess that is what the show was going for when they adapted the story from the books…I’m just looking forward to how the grand northern conspiracy is REALLY going to play out in WoW when it is finally released! I know it will not disappoint!

  • The theme of the article is “luck” but I’m not sure Jon was more lucky than divinely protected. It seemed to me that he had a guardian angel through the chaos of the battle, deflecting all risks to him, which fits with Melasandre’s wondering about his purpose and the God of Light’s plan for him. Clearly Jon is favored for some purpose and it wasn’t his turn to die (again) re-taking Winterfell. Watching Ramsey get more and more frustrated as every volley of arrows killed everyone but Jon seemed to me that someone up there didn’t want Ramsey to succeed.

  • Btw, what happened to the Manderlys? Ramsay said that they’re one of the strongest houses in the north, and we hear them mentioned several times. Were all of their men slaughtered at the RW? Did they decide to sit the battle out and then side with the winners? Were they too fat to ride there? I hope we’ll find out next week

  • So that hoax that there would be a scene between Little Finger, Ramsay, Sansa and Jon inside Winterfell was a lie. At least the way it was told.

  • The bottom line is that Sansa should have told her brother about the Vale Forces. She trusted Littlefinger, who gave her to Ramsey, more than her own brother. Now, there are not enough troops to protect her claim to Winterfell nor are there enough troops to fight the White Walkers. Littlefinger already has the King’s decree that he is the warden of the North. He just needs to place Sansa’s head on a spike to seal the deal. She doesn’t know how to play the game…she just got played… I admire Jon for loving his siblings so much that he would forfeit his life for them. Especially since he was not fully accepted into the Stark household by Catelyn and his sister Sansa. Jon really wanted to die during this battle but found a reason to live after almost being smothered by all of those dead bodies. Sansa is not going to live long…the death of her Direwolf Lady is an omen she is going to die and not lead Winterfell. Jon and Arya are the eventual survivors. Bran is not going to last long either owing to the death of Summer. The Direwolves are a sign for who survives in my opinion and it works both ways.

    • I agree with you totally RML, except for the forshadowing of Sansa’s death– I believe that Lady’s (Sansa’s direwolf) death represents the death of the figurative “lady” within Sansa!

      Everything that Sansa has been through at the hands of her psychopathic mentors/tormentors has completely killed off Samsa’s overly romanticised ideas about being a beautiful and demure “lady” with a handsome Lord/Prince to sweep her off of her feet and a happily ever after.
      Much the same way that winter killed Summer (Bran’s wolf.)
      It’s all about the symbolism in ASoIaF.